There's a lot of misguided advice that if you see a swarm of bees to leave it alone... that it will move along when they’re ready. Move along where? Into the unused chimney of your neighbour’s house? Or perhaps into their wall cavity? How about that old peppermint tree down by the horse’s paddock? The kid’s cubby house? What about a hollow in an old Marri tree? You know, the one the black cockatoos were nesting in? Until the bees chased them out?
AN INTRODUCED SPECIES
The European Honey Bee (apis mellifera) is an introduced species. They came out to Australia 200 years ago. And while they've been here a while, that does not make them native. We always say there are two types of honey bees.
And feral bees.
Managed bees are those that are managed by beekeepers. Actively managed. Not bees that are stuck in a hive in the corner of the backyard and left to their own devices. So long as the bees are actively managed they pose a relatively small risk to our native environment. But if they swarm? Then they become feral.
TAKE A PHOTO
If you see a swarm of bees, and you care about your native birds and animals, and your neighbours, and your kids, call a beekeeper. Even better. Take a photo and then call a beekeeper.
Taking photos helps the ‘beek’ in more ways than you know. We can gauge the size of the swarm. We’ll know what size box to bring. We can see what equipment we might need to access the swarm. Is it up high? Might need to bring the ladder. Down low? Too easy! Is it in a letterbox? We’ll bring our bee vac.
Yes. A bee vacuum. There is such a thing.
CONTACT A BEEKEEPER
Don’t know where to find a contact number of a beekeeper in your area? Phone your local council. They will generally have phone numbers on hand. The WA Apiarists' Society also has a list of beekeepers that provide swarm collection services.
But whatever you do, please don’t let those bees ‘just move on’. It is much better to have a registered beekeeper re-home them, than for them to re-home themselves!